Author: Ron Graham

I Can!

Motivated by Superior Desires
—The spiritual mind continued

We continue looking at Paul's theme, "We worship God in the Spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3). In this study, we consider what desires motivate the spiritually minded. The spiritually minded are...

1 Their desires are toward others, not toward self (Philippians 2:2-5)

Immature people think selfishly, in the sense that the whole universe revolves around self. But the mature think selflessly and their lives revolve around others and around God.

The attitude and desire of Christ was to be a servant and a Saviour, emptying himself for the sake of others and of his Father who desired to save the world. This selfless desire led Jesus to the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

The spiritually minded seek to have this mind of Christ in themselves (Philippians 2:5-8) and to make their hearts and lives Christ-centered rather than self-centered.

2 Their desires are toward Christ, not toward peers (Philippians 2:9-13)

Because of his exemplary life, God "highly exalted" Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9-11)

This is the Figure whom the spiritually minded look up to as their chief exemplar. They don't seek to imitate their Christless peers as a way of life.

It's right, of course, to imitate the example of dedicated Christians. Indeed Paul says to the Philippians, "Join in following my example and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us" (Philippians 3:17). But this is because they desire to follow the pattern of Christ.

Remember, Paul also says, "Not only in my presence, but also in my absence, work out your own salvation..." (Philippians 2:12). Sometimes there is an absence of dedicated Christian peers and mentors. But there's always the chief exemplar, Jesus.

3 Their desires are toward heaven, not toward earth (Philippians 1:23)

The Christian is always torn between a longing for heaven and a wish to be a useful servant in this world. By contrast, Paul speaks of people who "set their mind on earthly things" (Philippians 3:19). Paul says, "Their glory is their shame". Those who glory in the things of this world will stand ashamed before Christ.

The spiritually minded do not love the world (1John 2:15-17), but take the attitude, "Our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). They feel that they "belong" in heaven rather than in the world.

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